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Paul O'Sullivan Takes Legal Action Against Unlawful Appointment of DPCI Head General Lebeya

Published March 23, 2024
2 months ago

In a legal challenge that could have significant implications for South Africa's criminal justice system, Paul O'Sullivan, representing Forensics for Justice (FFJ), has approached the High Court to contest the appointment and subsequent retention of General Godfrey Lebeya as National Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), commonly known as the Hawks. The case, awaiting a court date, questions the adherence to statutory protocols by Police Minister Bheki Cele.

Filed on behalf of FFJ, O'Sullivan's application claims Minister Cele's actions did not comply with the South African Police Services Act, specifically concerning the age and parliamentary approval for the retention of General Lebeya who turned 60 on 16 September 2021.

Central to the contention is the continuation in office of General Lebeya post his 60th birthday. According to O’Sullivan, without a special resolution from Parliament, Lebeya’s holding of his position beyond September 30, 2023, is legally questionable. Despite a thorough search, O’Sullivan asserts there's no record of such a resolution, prompting the legal challenge.

This action is not a comment on the integrity of General Lebeya, as O’Sullivan explicitly states that the application does not reflect on any potential corruption on Lebeya's part. Instead, the application centers on the legality and procedures surrounding high-level appointments in South African police services.

The matter was brought to light following a separate court case involving General Lebeya and the South African Revenue Services (SARS) over an outstanding tax debt. After O'Sullivan notified President Cyril Ramaphosa of the issue, SARS withdrew their claim, though O'Sullivan received no official response from the Presidency or the Deputy President.

The pursuit to uphold the law in public service appointments is a step showing the vigilance of civil society organizations in South Africa in ensuring compliance with legislative guidelines. O'Sullivan's actions signal a particular attentiveness to governance processes in matters of public interest. The court's ruling on the matter is poised to be a crucial point of announcement for police accountability and regulatory adherence moving forward.

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